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Horsford, Frontline Dems start to break with Biden

Frontliners start to break with Joe Biden

Vulnerable House Democrats are increasingly finding ways to distance themselves from President Joe Biden.

In a presidential year, Frontliners know much of their success will be tied to the top of the ticket. But they also have an instinct for self-preservation, and that means taking some shots at the unpopular president’s policies.

In recent weeks, swing-seat Democrats have become more vocal about their issues with the administration’s handling of the southern border, the Israel-Hamas war and energy policies.

Polls have Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in a number of key swing states where many Frontliners reside. While few Democrats will sound the alarm publicly on the party’s leader, their willingness to criticize the White House’s policy moves is a good indicator that these vulnerable members are feeling the heat.

“I think people trust me and others to do what’s best for our districts, and if that means agreeing with the administration, great. If it means disagreeing, that’s fine too,” Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) told us.

Here are some recent examples:

Last week, 26 Democrats, many of whom are in swing districts, raised concerns in a letter to the administration about Biden withholding the transfer of heavy bombs to Israel. The NRCC has been relentlessly hitting at-risk Democrats for a perceived softness on Israel policy.

In April, Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez (D-Wash.) and Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) penned a letter to Biden administration officials pushing back on proposed electric vehicle rules and urging them to shore up infrastructure for rural America.

Earlier this month, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) led over a dozen Democrats in a letter demanding Biden take executive action to control undocumented migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Democratic split is also happening at a more local level. For instance, Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Pa.) bucked the administration on a proposed Energy Department rule on Grain-Oriented Electrical Steel. Deluzio, who worked with Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Mike Kelly to secure changes to the rule, said the regulation would’ve cost western Pennsylvania more than 1,000 union jobs.

“That’s the kind of pushback and disagreement that I take on when it’s about my region and jobs and supply chain,” Deluzio told us. “I’m going to push the administration to hear me, and this was a success story of seeing exactly that.”

A common thread we heard from Frontliners was the insistence that their races were inherently local affairs. In a blockbuster Biden vs. Trump showdown year, that’s easier said than done.

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), however, insisted his brand in the district is what will propel him to victory.

“I’m on the ballot,” Horsford told us. “As a Frontline member, the message starts from the ground up, not from the top down.”

— Mica Soellner and Max Cohen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.